Pearl Shaw was born in Americus, Georgia, in about 1868. When she moved to Hartford, she worked as a presser in a garment factory. She and her husband Eugene had a son named Eugene Jr.
Registered as a voter in 1920, Shaw was a member of the Colored Voters’ Republican League, and in 1931 she worked as the secretary for the organization. In 1929 she served as a delegate for the Third Ward, precinct 32, on the Dunn ticket. Records show that her work for the Republicans continued, and she was working for precinct 31 of the Third Ward in 1937.